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Prominent Theologian Adds Her Voice to Support for Abortion in Poland

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/25/16

Details: 

Theologian and professor of Catholic Studies at Roehampton University, Tina Beattie, has signed a letter to the Polish Bishops’ Conference supporting “early, safe and legal” abortion. Although the letter begins, “We uphold the sanctity of all human life, including the right to life of women and their unborn children”, it goes on to say, “we also acknowledge that sometimes women and girls face agonising decisions about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy that is the consequence of an act of sexual violence; that poses a serious threat to their own health, or that would result in the birth of a profoundly disabled or terminally ill child.” The letter follows proposals by the Polish government to make abortion illegal in the country. Along with her academic duties Prof Beattie also volunteers for CAFOD’s Theological Reference Group. The letter has been signed by fellow academics, lay people and theologians of varying nationalities, with signatories describing themselves as “concerned Catholics”. “While we respect those who decide to continue with such a pregnancy, we do not believe that this decision can be imposed upon them through moral coercion, and far less through the force of law,” the letter states. “In our view, the latter constitutes a violation of a woman’s freedom of conscience and personal dignity, and it runs counter to the Catholic tradition’s distinction between morality and legality. The law should not be used to control a person’s moral life, except when that person’s behaviour poses a threat to society.” …The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear that “the moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law,” and says that “the inalienable rights of the person must be recognised and respected by civil society and the political authority. …The signatories of the letter also say that Mary’s choice to “conceive a child” was a free one and write: “When God chose Mary to become the mother of His Son, He did so not by force or compulsion but by invitation and request. Mary was free in deciding whether or not to conceive a child. Many women and girls do not enjoy such freedom.”

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